Tuesday, April 12, 2016

One of the Best Boys I have Ever Known

Sadly just two years following the death of her beautiful daughter, Lucille, Ella (Jones) Rainwater said goodbye to yet one more of her children, her 32 year old son, Clarence. 

Clarence Olin Rainwater was the fourth child of Alexander Forrest and Ella (Jones) Rainwater. Born the 11th of November 1895, he was reared in the small postal community Ondee, just southeast of Olin and eight miles from Hamilton, Texas. His father farmed and his mother took care of their large family. Religion was important to his family and played a big role in Clarence's upbringing. 

He was just a young man of seventeen when his father died, leaving a big hole in their family and the community. From then until the time he registered for WWI, Clarence remained at home working and helping to support his mother and his younger sisters. (1) But when the call came to serve his county, he was among the first in Hamilton County to register. (2)

Patriotism was running high in America and men were anxious to do their part in preserving freedom for their country and their families. Much to Clarence's disappointment, he was selected to remain in the US and serve as a training officer rather than being shipped overseas.  It was while serving in that capacity that he contracted the dreaded tuberculosis.

tuberculosis, Rainwater, Clarence Olin Rainwater, Lois C. Gray, World War I, Texas law, Alamogordo
T.B. patients at hospital
In an effort to fight the disease, he first went to the well known tuberculosis sanitorium in Denver, Colorado to receive medical treatment. His treatment there included an abundance of fresh air and sunshine, however he did not improve as he had hoped and soon went to El Paso, Texas to receive treatment there.

For four years Clarence fought the awful disease. While in the hospital, tall, gray eyed, brown haired Clarence fell in love with Lois C. Gray, who was a nurse. With optimism for the future, he proposed to her and despite the grim prognosis for most tuberculosis patients, she accepted.

Clarence and Lois didn't let Texas' law prohibiting individuals with communicable diseases from marrying dissuade them, but hopped across the border into New Mexico where the laws were more lax. There in Alamogordo, Clarence and Lois became man and wife on the 27th of May 1927. A brief mention of the marriage appeared in the Alamogordo News, dated Thursday, June 2, 1927. It read simply:
GRAY-RAINWATER
Miss Lois C. Gray, Denver Colo. and Mr. Clarence O. Rainwater of Witchita Falls, Texas were united in marriage at Alamogordo, May 27th of Judge Stalcup. 
But Clarence would never recover and on the 15th of March, 1928, less than a year after he and Lois married, he succumbed to the disease. He was buried in the Evergreen Cemetery in El Paso.Ted Couch, husband to Clarence's first cousin, Louisa Olive Lloyd expressed what many felt that day when he said: 


"He was one of the best boys I have ever known, and in his death his loved ones and friends in his country have suffered a great loss." (3)     


1. WWI Draft Registration, Ancestry
2.  Obituary from The Hamilton Herald-Record, April 13, 1928
3. Ibid 


Copyright © Michelle G. Taggart 2016, All rights reserved

19 comments:

  1. I love the way you tell the stories! The picture is very interesting, i wish they had something similar now, fresh air does great for healing. Although, you do have to wonder about sunburn and the privacy isn't real great! What happened to Lois? Did she also get tuberculosis?

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    1. Thank you! I did wonder about sunburns as well, especially knowing how hot the sun is Denver's altitude and of course in Texas. Lois remarried and lived a long life, so no, somehow she managed to escape the horrible TB death.

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  2. I have several ancestors who died from TB, also. And they all were young people in their 20's and 30's. So very sad. I'm glad Clarence was able to have joy and love in the last days of his life.

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    1. It really amazes me Nancy because reading about it, it sounds like those whose health was not good were particularly susceptible to it, but on the other hand, I know it really snowballed through communities. I am amazed at how many of my ancestors who died were in that same age bracket. I too am glad Clarence was able to find some happiness.

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  3. Thank you for sharing his story Michelle. It was a terrible disease that took too many, too soon. Many of my own ancestors also succumbed.

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    1. I really had no idea until recently just how many died from it, and as I mentioned in the post about his sister Lucille, many still do. I didn't have a clue. It broke my heart to read about how they suffered. It's a very sad chapter in many of our families' history for sure.

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  4. I love the old obituaries in which there were more than the barest of genealogy statements. Tuberculosis was a horrible disease. I just finished Jennifer Worth's second volume (In the Shadows of the Workhouse) in which she has a chapter devoted to tuberculosis and a story of a family who suffered because of the disease. It's sad that Clarence died so soon after being married but good, I think, that the couple at least took a chance on the possibility that he might survive the disease.

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    1. I too love the old obituaries that really give more than a name and date of death. They can be such a great find when they exist. Being a nurse, Lois had to know she was taking quite a chance in marrying him when he had TB, so I think she must have really loved him a lot.

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  5. I'm glad he found love. I'm glad Lois wasn't afraid. But still this story is just terribly sad.

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    1. It is super sad. I guess I am never satisfied, but I wish I knew more about Clarence because I imagine him being this fun good looking man who Lois just couldn't resist for his charm.

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  6. Just looked at your blog. I'm starting to get back into geneabloggers. Recently started another blog called thehoneymoontrail.blogspot.com
    I accidentally posted my blog but it was almost ready anyway so I left it and was looking at some of the other blogs posted today. It's nice you can always go in and make minor changes if you post early. Sorry for my rambling comments.

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  7. Nicely written, sad story. Great research, uncovering all those details including a marriage in another state.

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    1. Thank you! It's sure fun when those details are available. The marriage in another state was the most difficult to find. Until I found that I only knew Lois's first name and that frustrated me. Even though it was just a single sentence, I was thrilled!

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  8. Beautifully written post, as usual Michelle! Such a sad story though.

    My great-grandmother passed away from TB. What a horrible disease.

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    1. Thank you Jana. I am beginning to think TB touched most people's ancestors in one way or another.

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  9. Michelle,


    I want to let you know that your blog post is listed in today's Fab Finds post at http://janasgenealogyandfamilyhistory.blogspot.com/2016/04/follow-friday-fab-finds-for-april-15.html

    Have a great weekend!

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